How can Les Aspin help you?
Photos provided by Ryan Dahm, Morgan Johnson and Sarah Miller
All of the most recent job reports claim that the Millennials are entering a dismal job market, the most abysmal market for recent college graduates in a lifetime. Most of the reasons stem from those recently attained bachelor’s degrees tend to also be the most inexperienced, and employers must spend time on in-depth on the job training, professional development, and organizational skills, all factors that deter employers to hire recent graduates like you and I . However, seniors who participated in Marquette’s Les Aspin Center for Government in Washington, D.C. acquire in-depth knowledge of the political process and skills that they can apply to future careers, while working in the fast-paced environment of D.C. Whether it is doing research for one of the most prominent members of Congress, working at an international non-profit committed to finding business solutions to alleviate poverty, or interning at one of the largest defense contracting firms in the United States, these students have gained a leg up in the job market with opportunities provided by the Les Aspin Center.
Sarah Miller, a senior from Seattle, WA studying International Affairs with minors in Business Administration and French, knew she wanted experience in international policy prior to graduation. She realized that Washington, D.C. was the epicenter of economic development, diplomacy, and international law. Sarah applied to the Les Aspin program for the summer after her junior year and had the ideal placement at Techno Serve, an international organization that partner with people in developing countries to build economically successful farms, businesses and industries. Sarah was responsible for compiling data on Techno Serve’s many office locations, including Kenya, Peru, India, and twenty other countries, in an annual report. Sarah was also able to apply the skills she learned in her Financial and Accounting courses at Marquette in real-world situations, by offering financial and accounting consulting to international partners. Additionally, Sarah reveled in her summer living in D.C with twenty other Marquette students, as it made her more attuned to current events, and says “It’s valuable for anyone to be up to date with the world.” After her experience, Sarah feels a clearer recognition of her strengths in the workplace and what she can improve upon, and has no trouble with expressing her talents and skills to a future employer.
Senior Challenge Committee member Morgan Johnson, a senior from Franklin, WI studying Political Science and Economics, had already had her fair share of Wisconsin politics, working on the winning campaigns of Governor Scott Walker and State Senator Alberta Darling. She hoped to gain experience on the national level through the Les Aspin Center. Johnson was fortunate enough to be placed with an internship with Congressman Paul Ryan. As Ryan represented the district that she hailed from, Morgan noted, “It was really cool to do see the issues that were important from my own area, and then do research on them.” Along with answering phones and running errands as any intern on the Hill will encounter, Morgan was allowed to give tours of the Capitol to visiting constituents and attend important hearings on policy. Morgan will never forget the moment that she drafted a legislative memo on immigration that later Congressman Ryan recited word-for-word on the House floor! Through her 10 week experience, Morgan is now well-versed in political affairs on the local and national scale. She says, “Les Aspin was helpful in figuring out what I want to do with my life.”
Similar to Morgan and Sarah, Ryan Dahm, a senior from Merrill, WI studying International Affairs and Economics, wanted exposure to a new field. In the summer after his junior year, Dahm interned at Oshkosh Defense, a Fortune 500 defense contracting firm that provides military vehicles to the United States and other countries. Being exposed to regional strategy sessions on government regulations and defense contracts, assisting with research, and networking with prominent influencers in the defense and emergency response industries offered Ryan a seasoned perspective on the private side of military affairs. As a cadet in the Army ROTC Program at Marquette with plans to enter service after graduation, Ryan describes his internship at Oshkosh Defense and his summer in D.C as an “incredible work experience,” one in which he can never replicate.
Morgan, Sarah, and Ryan are all extremely grateful for the skills that they gained through their internships while at Les Aspin. They are thankful for the practical benefits of adding a unique and fortified work experience to their already impressive resumes. They also gained a tight knit community from the life-long friendships formed through the program. They each see the importance of their individual opportunities at the Les Aspin Center and recognize the benefits for future Marquette students. These Millennials are well prepared to #BeThe Difference in the job market that they will soon enter and are accustomed to the stresses of the normal work day.
So seniors, we ask you, what at Marquette has helped you in your future career goals? What has helped you #BeTheDifference? Let us know!